Tag: “history1”

A lot to read during the holiday season…

by on Dec.10, 2016, under Allgemein

rahmen_bild_2016_x-mas_8474_1000x700Read about watches and instruments from Guido Panerai & Figlio. Vintage Panerai watches from the 1930’s to the 1960’s are described and photographed in intricate detail for the reader, telling the stories of their first users during their dangerous underwater missions.

“History1” (420 pages)
“History2” (480 pages)
“The References” 1930’s-1940’s (696 pages)
“The References” 1950’s-1960’s (696 pages)

As a reference finder, as an addition to your library at home or as a special christmas gift for your friends: our Vintage Panerai books will be a great read for any Panerai collector. Each book comes with an embossed hardback jacket (leather and canvas) in a slipcase, sized 10.2 x 10.2″, trilingual (= German, Italian and English language).

Our four books are in stock and can be shipped immediately – just visit our bookstore. Use the browse by tags function to get further information about the content in each of the four books. Read how to place your order here.

Take your seat and enjoy reading!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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How the ‘Ambra’ became a transport submarine for SLC units…

by on Nov.26, 2016, under Allgemein

history1_4arillo_600x600CHAPTER IV @ “History1”: The chapter on Mario Arillo begins with an interview conducted with him in 1989. Numerous as yet unpublished pictures and documents from the family possessions of the famous commander from La Spezia augment the personal descriptions of his submarine missions as a means of transport for Italian Gamma swimmers and the SLC units of the Decima MAS.

Mario Arillo’s impressive and moving interview, taken 11 years before he died, holds many interesting details on the missions against the harbours on the north african coast with very rare photos taken aboard the submarine Ambra together with SLC pilots and Gamma frogmen.

CHAPTER IV.I features “The Arillo-Luminor”, a Ref. 6152/1 with “Luminor Panerai” dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 4 movement.

The book “History1″ (420 pages / chapter IV: 165 pages, 106 photos, 7 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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Exercised to become a frogman at the Baltic Sea…

by on Nov.26, 2016, under Allgemein

history1_3kiefer_600x600CHAPTER III @ “History1”: The story of Karl-Heinz Kiefer, who received fast-track training in the last months of the Second World War, already provided proof in the first edition of this book (2007 / sold out) about period of use of the rare watch-face version of his Panerai watch, which for a long time had been ascribed to an earlier date. In chapter III of “History1”, his winter training in a toughening-up camp at the Baltic Sea is described in more detail.

CHAPTER III.I features “The Kiefer-Radiomir”, a Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial (painted brass) and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History1″ (420 pages / chapter III: 55 pages, 39 photos, 3 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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Reading a frogman’s diary – an unique story…

by on Nov.26, 2016, under Allgemein

history1_2pape_600x600 CHAPTER II @ “History1”: For the most part the chapter about Heinz Pape is taken from his surviving diary and presented as a firstperson narrative, with comprehensive supplementation.

Thanks to extremely rare aerial photographs of the assignment targets described by him and the examination of several maps it was possible to analyse his diary entries precisely and thus present them to the reader in such an impressive manner – an unique story.

CHAPTER II.I features “The Pape-Radiomir”, a Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous “Kampfschwimmer” dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History1″ (420 pages / chapter II: 91 pages, 44 photos, 3 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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From elite swimmer to frogman – and back again…

by on Nov.26, 2016, under Allgemein

history1_1lehmann_600x600CHAPTER I @ “History1”: The story of the German elite swimmer Heinz Günter Lehmann is told with numerous photos (including maps and documents of the allied secret intelligence), covering the period from his training in Venice to his countless sporting successes on the international stage after the Second World War.

CHAPTER I.I features “The Lehmann-Radiomir”, a Ref. 3646 / Type C with “Radiomir Panerai” dial and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement.

The book “History1″ (420 pages / chapter I: 75 pages, 38 photos, 4 technical illustrations) is in stock. It can be ordered directly in our bookstore. Enjoy reading!

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One more 3646 / Type D with brass dial surfaced in the UK

by on Sep.18, 2016, under Allgemein

rahmen_bild_2016_1000x700_3646dbrassukIntroducing another piece of the puzzle – and one more surfaced in the United Kingdom: a Ref. 3646 / Type D with black painted brass dial and rare “Kampfschwimmer” engraving with initials of the first owner on its outer caseback. After more than 70 years the watch changed ownership once again and recently found a good new home at a Panerai collector from Germany, who provided the photo shown on the left.

The watch has been added into our database in March 2016 and comes with flat bezel (a typical feature of the watches with flat dials), onion shaped “Brevet +” crown (Type 11) and Rolex Cal. 618 / Type 1 movement. The watch has never been polished and has still its original plexi, showing the typical traces of aging. The inner caseback is signed with the Rolex SA hallmark, reference and case number. A similar 3646 / Type D watch with flat bezel and black painted brass dial will be auctioned in Glasgow on September 23rd, 2016 at Great Western Auctions.

A Ref. 3646 / Type D watch with black painted brass dial is featured in our book “History1” in chapter III together with the history of its first owner, a German “Kampfschwimmer” who provided us very interesting information about his service, training and how some of these Panerai watches “changed ownership” during the time when he was a POW (prisoner of war) in the summer of 1945 (page 206-207).

Watches of the Reference 3646 / Type D are also featured in our new book “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.IV (page 398-531) including a historic photo of a German “Kampfschwimmer” wearing a 3646 with brass dial on page 475.

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How to visualize a frogman’s pencil written diary from 1945?

by on Jul.09, 2016, under General

During the research on the history behind a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” with engraved caseback, we were able to study the diary of the first owner of the watch. This diary survived the last days of the Second World War and the veteran kept it for decades, willed to share it with us and partially featured in chapter II of our book “History2”.

Thanks to the many detailed descriptions (e.g. the water temperature, current, weather conditions and explosive charges carried) which the frogman wrote down and the examination of historical maps of the 1940’s it was possible to analyze his diary entries precisely and visualize his memories to the readers of our book in an impressive way. The collected documents and additional information let this chapter become one of the unique stories behind a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch.

History1_frontal_300x300Reading page 83 of “History1” reminds on a part of our research which did happened not often. The frogman wrote the following lines in his diary at the beginning of March 1945:

“The next morning we set off towards the east in a truck. With unbelievable power, the Russians have pushed thru as far as the [river] Oder in their last offensive. They even managed to build two bridgeheads at Fürstenberg [in November 1961 the city was renamed Eisenhüttenstadt]. Reconnaissance flights tell us that they are putting tremendous amounts of people and material into these bridgeheads”.

Reconnaissance flights? Having this information in mind, we started to search various archives for still existing aerial photographs – maybe the one which the frogmen mentioned in his diary still exists? After the war, some remaining photos were transferred to archives which stored these photos for bomb clearance works. Good luck on the hunt! Guess how easy this search would be? Where to start? To find a aerial photo from the same date, same area and even showing the target, not knowing if its existing at all? We found it – a needle in a haystack – the photo which was shown to the frogmen as their next target.

IMG_3659_600x600Dated to 1 March 1945, the photo taken by a reconnaissance flight shows one of the pontoon bridges built across the Oder by the Russian troops just shortly before – which became soon later the target for the “Keller Group” just as the frogman wrote it down in his diary. Read more on the diary and various historic documents which helped us to visualize this source of information during our research on a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer” watch here.

The coffee table shot shows page 110-111, chapter II of “History2” next to one of the few original photos of the “Keller Group” taken shortly before their missions at the eastern front (spot some Panerai gear in it). This photo is published on page 94 in the same chapter. The coffee table shot includes also a Ref. 3646 / Type D “Kampfschwimmer”, featured in chapter V of “History2” – the watch of frogman Siegfried Köneke, who was also a member of the “Keller Group”. Read more about this chapter here.

Our two “History” books can be ordered only in our bookstore.

Enjoy reading stories behind these watches!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

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“Watches with History” – our two history books

by on Apr.27, 2016, under Allgemein

IMG_2709_600x600Our first book, published in 2007 and entitled “Watches with History” opened with the words “In this book we would like to give the reader an overview of historic Panerai watches and their documented history.” Years passed since then, during which we have embarked on many interesting trips into the past while researching this subject.

The personal stories of the first owners of these watches were mostly forgotten in the last years, reaching back more than 70 years since their use in war times. Only a few Vintage Panerai watches can tell their story, and the story of many others will never be told. In 2012 we were able to take an even deeper and more comprehensive look at the wearers and the uses of these watches in the book “History1”.

IMG_2720_600x600The stories in this book take the reader back to the time of the Second World War. Rare pictures from this period bear silent and impressive witness to the conditions and living circumstances, which we have also been able to supplement with rare map and image materials from various international archives. A small number of Vintage Panerai watches reveal their secrets to the collector and answer the ever-recurring question: Who used the watch? When did the operations take place, and to what purpose? And further: where and under what conditions did the comprehensive training of the special maritime unit take place? How and by what means were the deployments of the combat swimmers carried out? What do the veterans think of those missions today? We pursued the answers to these questions and, thanks to the help of some surviving veterans, their descendants, or by means of analyzing previously unknown documents such as diaries, interview records or recordings by opposing spies, we managed to compile some very impressive and authentic chapters.

The four chapters of our book “History1″ (420 pages) are introduced below:
Chapter I / Chapter II / Chapter III / Chapter IV

IMG_2694_600x600In the book “History2” (2013) we once again took our readers on a journey through time with five more stories: five exciting and moving fates of frogmen, for whom their Panerai watch was not an item of jewellery, but rather an important piece of equipment during the Second World War.

„History2“ outlines the personal experiences of the combat swimmers and describes in the smallest detail their fate, which has, during conversations or in written correspondence, evoked at times painful memories and great emotions after many decades.

The watches presented in this book were in action under “real” battle conditions in the Second World War. They accompanied their original owners since combat swimmer training and indeed for many years after the war.

The five chapters of our book “History2″ (480 pages) are introduced below:
Chapter V / Chapter VI / Chapter VII / Chapter VIII / Chapter IX

Our books “History1” and “History2″ can be ordered directly in our bookstore.

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Ref. 3646 / Type D with brass dial @ Eppli

by on Mar.11, 2016, under Watch Point

Rahmen_Bild_2016_3646_brass_dial_EppliAuction House Eppli (Stuttgart/Germany) features a Ref. 3646 / Type D with anonymous, painted brass dial in their auction on April 2nd.

The 3646 / Type D is recorded in our database since February 2016. The watch features a typical Rolex 618 / Type 1 movement (Type 1 = 17 Rubis without Incabloc shock protection).

Watches of the Reference 3646 / Type D are featured in our new “The References” 1930’s-1940’s in chapter II.IV (page 398-531) including a historic photo of a German “Kampfschwimmer” wearing a 3646 with brass dial on page 475.

A similar watch with painted brass dial is featured in our book “History1” in chapter III together with information about the first owner, a German “Kampfschwimmer”.

We hope that also this watch will find a good new home and remains surfaced in the Vintage Panerai collectors world. [Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann]

[Photo courtesy of Auktionshaus Eppli e.K.]

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Farewell, Mr. Kiefer!

by on Jan.20, 2016, under Allgemein

Sad news arrived us in January. German veteran Karl-Heinz Kiefer, one of the last remaining WW2 frogmen, died on 23 December 2015 at the age of 90. We send our condolences to his family.

Mr. Kiefer’s personal story as a frogmen was featured in chapter III of our 2011 book “History1” with information he provided us during several meetings and interviews until 2011. Mr. Kiefer received a Ref. 3646 / Type D with brass dial after he was successfully instructed to become a “Kampfschwimmer” in the last weeks of the Second World War. Karl-Heinz Kiefer was taken prisoner of war by the British at the island of Sylt, which was the final headquarter of the German frogmen units (codename “Weisskoppel”) before the end of the Second World War. Mr. Kiefer’s Panerai watch is one of the very few watches in our records which can be tracked from present day back to its use in early 1945.

Karl-Heinz Kiefer started his navy career in the Kriegsmarine in October 1943. He completed his recruit training in Stralsund (Baltic Sea) as member of the “Crew 10/43”. After his recruit training he went on board the destroyer Z 25 in Gotenhafen in January 1944, where he completed his second part of his officer training, the so-called “on-board recruit period” until July 1944.

From this part of his career, Karl-Heinz Kiefer found a photo of himself in 2012 at his home, which he provided us for adding in our history records. As it was too late to feature it in the already published book “History1”, we want to share this photo to remember him. The backside of the photo bears a date stamp (18 March 1944) and the photographer’s stamp, based in Danzig (Baltic Sea).

After his officer training he posted to the special marine unit (“Kampfschwimmer”) in December 1944, as he was an excellent swimmer who participated several swimming competitions, such as the German youth championships in 1942. Released from the POW camp after only eight weeks, he left the island of Sylt in June 1945. Mr. Kiefer became a school teacher in 1946 until his retirement as principal.

Related to his Ref. 3646 / Type D Panerai watch, we remember his many detailed memories during the 2011 interview at the age of 85: “Whoever had his own diving watch, and no longer needed to return it to the store after exercises along with the other pieces of equipment, was a fully-trained combat swimmer, ready for action. Whoever wore the Panerai on his arm really belonged.” 

We are glad, that we had the chance to meet Mr. Kiefer in person, listened to his very personal experiences of his time when he became a frogmen. We asked him questions, on which we received helpful, interesting but also moving answers. Questions, which sadly one day non of those veterans will be able to answer anymore…

“Auf Wiedersehen!” – farewell, Mr. Kiefer – rest in peace!
[Ralf Ehlers & Volker Wiegmann] 

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